Today’s post will be a true journey for your unique brand. So, have a seat and buckle up!
Now, first things come first. Before we start this amazing journey it’s important you understand the footprint you are trying to make in your market, how you are different from your competitors and how you are going to create a unique journey for your customers.
BRAND + VISION
THE IDEALS OF YOUR BRAND
The beginning of any project starts with a conversation about the future. What’s the ideal outcome for this endeavor? What is the dream result at the end of the day? And most importantly, how do we as a team make these dreams become a reality? The fortuitous conversation and overarching plan that is made at the stage of conception is what will define the brand’s vision and create a mission statement.
HOW TO CREATE A MISSION STATEMENT
Questions to ask yourself about your brand
Why does my brand exist? Why am I creating this brand?
What is the point of difference of my brand? How is it going to change the market?
3. CORE VALUE
What are the value or beliefs that drive my company and guide my brand?
AMAZON – E-COMMERCE
Make a mission statement. What do you think a Wall Street banker would know about selling books on the internet? In 1994, an innovative Jeffrey P. Bezos left his banking career to embark on the creation of online retailing sensation Amazon. It was a brainstorm of the Top 20 products that he could potentially sell online that landed him with books as his final draw card. And its mission statement? To be Earth’s most consumer-focused company, where anyone can find and discover anything they want at the lowest prices. This might have seemed overly ambitious in 1995, but today Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company.
Take Oxfam, an organization devoted to changing the world. Its single mission statement: a just world without poverty. It doesn’t get more courageous than that. Oxfam stands for the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942. Its first campaign was to send parcels of food to starving women and children in occupied Greece during WW2. In 1995, a team of non-governmental organizations established Oxfam with the mission to reduce poverty and injustice in a global movement for change.
This mission has proved to be one of the most successful statements known to not only the not-for profit world, but the advertising industry in general. Oxfam has maintained its integrity and promise to create global change for the last 20 years.
BRAND + EXPERIENCE
CREATING A JOURNEY FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
Let’s talk about brand experience.
Before work every morning, you go to your favorite cafe. When you walk up to the counter it’s not necessary to tell the bearded barista your order, because he’s already started making it. You hand over your loyalty card and he stamps it (one more until your free cup!), wishing you a great day and using your first name as a friend would. Within minutes, you have your piping hot latte with half a sugar. Exchanging a smile with the waitress, you rush out of the cafe to get to the bus on time. Once seated, you take your first sip and disappointment stings across your face. He gave you a soy cappuccino with too much sugar. This has not only ruined your morning, but tarnished the once peachy ideals you associated with your local cafe. A bad experience can lose a lifetime of loyalty.
On the flipside, you have companies like The Ritz Carlton, who not only provide an exceptional experience but take it to the next level. Each staff member is given up to $2000 to spend on a guest, to deliver the ultimate luxury hotel experience. This might seem extravagant but they claim it’s how they keep their brand promise. This is not a free-breakfast-kind-of-deal; it’s a “special concept” to make customers feel valued. There are plenty of stories like that of the Ritz Carlton Dubai, where one waiter overheard a gentleman whose wife was in a wheelchair, saying it was a shame she couldn’t get down to the beach. The waiter told maintenance, who by the next afternoon had prepared a wooden walkway down the beach with a tent set up for them to dine in that evening. Now, that’s how you create a great brand experience!
BRAND + ORIGINALITY
SETTING YOURSELF APART FROM COMPETITORS
How to ensure your brand is different?
1. STEP OUTSIDE THE BOX
Challenge your market by making your design style different to your opponents.
2. BEEF IT UP
Make it bigger, brighter and more exciting than your competitors.
American Apparel has created a voice that reflects its brand and speaks to its pop-culture demographic.
Using a functional typeface for its logo together with the bodies of retail assistants and word of mouth, American Apparel has gone against the grain of a mainstream fashion brand. Some might consider it aesthetic purity, intentionally avoiding the sugarcoated stereotype of the fashion industry. To add pack to punch, American Apparel creates marketing material that is both controversial and totally acceptable from an advertising perspective, displaying near naked people wearing little more than the item being promoted. Part of what is so special about American Apparel is that it has created a voice that reflects its brand and speaks to the pop-culture audience while remaining true to the quintessential American Style.
Brand identity is the visual characteristics which define your brand. It is what you see, touch and recognize. It is the tangible aspect of your product. It is the print or digital collateral with logos, taglines and an original aesthetic unique to the brand itself. Brand identity is the fire that connects your business and your customer.
SUMMARY OF YOUR BRAND PERSONA
You’re waiting at the traffic lights on a rainy night and ahead you see a billboard with an image of a beach. A wide, sun soaked, over-saturated cabana shot with a lone beer positioned in the sand. Even with the rain on your windshield, you know this is a Corona ad.
Consider how your brand would be summed up by a consumer. What is the emotion your brand is selling? Are you selling trust? Is it vital your customers feel they can depend on you?
Maybe you have specific values that you are conveying through your brand identity. Whatever it is, these components are what creates your essence. The personality of your brand. It is the way it’s perceived by your customers.
Once you have figured out these characteristics, you will find it easier to create your brand identity. These elements will help you choose the correct typefaces, photo filters, color palettes and style to apply to your collateral.
The essence of the beer is what has helped Corona create its visual assets. The warm imagery and style of Corona’s advertising lures a longing for the beach as well as a thirst quenching need for a cool beer.
A SYMBOL CREATED TO VISUALLY REPRESENT THE BRAND
“The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, the visual disease is what we have around, and what we try to do is cure it somehow with design.” – Massimo Vignelli
The logo or mark that is used to represent your business is often the first relationship that is formed between the brand and the customer. It is the first point of recognition. Create a logo that is not only well-designed but one that is memorable. However, it is imperative to remember that your logo is not your brand. It should not define you, but instead be a visual representation of your company. Your logo is just one element of your visual identity.
I know that now you have a lot to think about so, I’ll let you with all the questions from your head that you have to answer to yourself. Since you make it so far I think we have a date for the next time. We will go in the amazing world of design. Wear your best outfit, I promise it would be one heck of a date.
Today we will continue the topic of branding and find out what makes a good branding. This section will uncover the fundamental components which make up the general practice of branding. This includes the importance of brand loyalty, strategy and great design.
Know your customer. Find out what they do and what they like (what makes them tick). This will allow you to tailor your product to suit their needs.
The world is divided into two types of people. Are you partial to “Ice Cold Sunshine”, or “Taking it to The Max”? Whether it’s Coca Cola or Pepsi that floats your boat, you are part of a battle between fiercely loyal consumers. You are one or the other (not often will you find someone who swings both ways). Pepsi challenged Coke in the 1960s by positioning itself as “the generation ahead” (making Coke seem old fashioned). Coke maintains its classic brand ethos and by doing so, maintains its following. Brand loyalty is the commitment shown to a brand through repetitive purchasing of a certain product, letting the product become superior to its competitors.
How to keep your customers?!
BE BETTER THAN THE REST
You will often obtain loyalists when they have been let down by another company. Focus on your strength and make it better than anyone else.
KEEP UP THE GAME
Don’t let your game get stale, but don’t move on too quickly either. Understand what your customers are saying, what they want and keep up the game.
MAKE A CONNECTION
Know your customers. Find out what they do, what they like (what make them tick). This will allow you to tailor your product to suit their needs.
SINCERELY, THE CEO
Accessibility is the key. Everyone loves knowing people high up. Personalize your business by making your customers feel like they know the boos.
2) STRATEGY + UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION
Iconic brands don’t happen by accident. Understanding your customers, how they connect with your brand and why they absorb and respond to your marketing, is the basis of a well crafted strategy. Understanding what motivates your audience is crucial, you have to become an untrained psychologist.
What makes your business unique in a world of over-saturated advertising? How do you stand out from your peers or competitors? The key to long-term success is recognizing what makes your company different. To be your own evangelist, you need to know more about your company or product than anybody else. The only way to guarantee this is to research your market, your competitors and the people that have been champions in your domain before you. From analytics to brand stories, customer trends and demographics (you don’t need to be risk free but the more you know, the better your outcome will be).
CRATE&BARREL – HOMEWARE
Crate&Barrel offers a promise to their customers: great value and high quality furniture and homewares. The brand experience is unpretentious and speakes to the “every man”. It brings you the product directly from the “crate and barrel” breaking away from the traditional but affordable style of its competitors. Crate&Barrel initial focus in 1967 was an unconventional shopping experience which led them to easy implement an e-commerce strategy, paving a way for online shopping that keeps with the brand experience created decades prior.
3) GREAT DESIGN
Aesthetics matter. A well designed logo together with strategic positioning makes all the difference for your marketing material. Ensuring your creative identity is cohesive across all collateral created for your brand is the most effective form of visual communication. The look and feel of the logo should help with the implementation of a clarified set of style standards. Your style guides is your reference for designing marketing collateral to ensure purity of your visual identity.
KIEHL’S – COSMETICS
Established in 1851, Kiehl’s is a family company created by a pharmacist. The logo is elegant and simple, yet adheres to the look and feel associated with pharmaceutical products. The point of difference with Keihl’s is transparency. All ingredients directions and skin benefits are displayed on the front of the packaging, and in contrast to their competitors, Kiehl’s offers a clean and less feminine approach to design. It’s no surprise that 30-40% of their customers are male. Kiehl’s are an eco friendly company with packaging made of recyclable material.
Consistency creates the groundwork for the success of your business. With the fast moving influence of different advertising platforms, the application of consistent design style across all these mediums is becoming harder to adhere to. From smartphones and LED billboards to social media, the spectrum of places to apply your brand is broadening.
NIKE – SPORTSWEAR
Nike is one of the most globally recognized brands thanks to its messaging, consistent use of typefaces, and a clean uncluttered visual style. The “Just do it” slogan embodies the voice of Nike, with accompanying taglines of athletic prosperity like “Eat our dust” and “Smoke ‘em”. This kind of consistency isn’t just about applying the exact same style to everything, but also reinforcing the brand’s persona.
ENDEAVOR – SNOWBOARDS
Endeavor Snowboards is a Canadian based company that was founded by a pro rider and photographer in 2002. It strives to raise the bar for what snowboarding should be, and redefines the ultimate snow experience.
Endeavor’s consistent branding is a particularly interesting element of its social media and marketing material. The subject matter used in its social media and marketing tends to be action shots of boarders and snow-capped mountain tops.
Interestingly enough, Endeavor uses a monochrome filter which not only captures the dramatic velocity of the content, but also enhances the positive/negative (black and white) space of the photographic composition. This application even inspires the snow-shy to catch a chairlift. The black and white theme extends throughout all of Endeavour’s creative, including its social media channels and website design. This maintains a cohesive visual aesthetic, as well as creating a unique brand style.
On the next post we will talk about the brand principles so stay tooned. I’m sure that you don’t want to miss it.
Hello dear readers,
Every morning, on your commute to work, whether by foot, public transport or car, we are bombarded with a visual feast of billboards, automobiles, apparel, technology, bumper stickers, advertising screens, radio…and the list goes on.
Some of these products get lost in the chaos and fall under the radar. Then you see a mark that draws you in. The shoe with the swoosh on the side, a familiar tagline on a poster, or the slick looking mobile phone with the graphite back that grabs your attention.
It might be that you have never seen this brand before. It’s your very first date and you’re trying to work it out. It’s intrigued you and you want to know more. Through their unique combinations of design, color and typography, they have incited your curiosity and captured your attention.
Behind these products are companies with a deep understanding of their audience and how to engage with their target consumer. They have taken a strategic and bold approach to standing out from the crowd and are becoming a bigger piece of the puzzle.
Today’s world is all about accessibility.
If taxis were easy to hail, we wouldn’t need Uber. If books were affordable, then we wouldn’t need kindles. If it was easy to ask a girl out at a party, we wouldn’t need Tinder. Uber gives you the GPS whereabouts of your driver with the model of their vehicle; Kindle gives you recommendations on what book to read next based on your previous purchase and Tinder gives you a shot at meeting someone you might not have the guts to introduce yourself to.
They have all created a promise that is unique by positioning themselves as ruler of their game within the marketplace, quickly becoming a necessity in your life. Well, this is branding.
Branding is, probably, one of the most important things that you put together for your business. It can help your business grow or it can bring you some ugly headaches if you don’t give it the right consideration.
Don’t worry, I’m here to help! In the following weeks we will talk about taking proactive and easy to implement steps to have a growing business and bring value to your knowledge. We will go thru Branding Principles (such as vision, experience or originality); some case studies and, of course, we will see how the combination of strategy, design and consistency creates a strong brand.
Until the next time, think about your business and the reason (I mean the real reason) why you started doing what you do.